Date registered: Aug 2005
Vehicle: 2005 and 2006 C230s
Location: North Bend, WA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
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RE: What are the benefits of larger wheels/tires ?
The benifits and detriments are numerous:
Smaller sidewalls (the side of the tire, which will have to be narrower to accomodate the larger rim). This leads to a myriad of issues. Most important (to most people) being that you will have a stiffer, and less cushioney ride. You will also be more prone to rim damage if you hit numerous potholes, or speedbumps at higher speeds. Plus the dreaded cost... Bigger rim diameter tires cost more money. Then there is the "rolling mass" issue. Even if you manage to get a bigger rim that weights the same ammount as your current rim (it isn't really hard to do), you still have moved weight outward. This can lead to SEVERE brake issues, if you do not instal uprated pads to deal with the extra inertia of the new set of rims. This last one is only a problem in the most extreme cases; IE going from a 15" rim to a 19" or 20" rim.
These are numerous. First, as long as you buy competant tires, you generally will have more grip, as the new tires should be WIDER to compensate for the shorter sidewalls. This leads to a bigger "contact patch," the spot where your tires meet the pavement. Also these tires tend to have stiffer sidewalls, which yield more responsive handling (when you turn the wheel, the sidewall flexes less, and transmits that motion to the road faster). Next you have the ability to fit bigger brake disks. This is why race cars run 18-19-20 Inch rims, because you can shove 16" brakes behind a 19" rim. These lead to incredibly faster stopping times, but these upgrades are also expensive. Generally a big brake kit starts at $1000, and the sky is the limit from there. And then, everyones favorite, apperance... Bigger rims just look nicer.
Of course, this isn't everything, and if you want to learn, there is a ton more info out there.